Q: What can you tell fans about your overall feelings and perceptions of how the draft went?
A: "Knowing how hard our amateur scouting staff works, led by Jarmo Kekalainen
, we're always excited when the draft comes around. We've had great success. Our first pick, (David Rundblad
), a Swedish defenseman, has tremendous upside. He's an all-around defenseman, good with the puck. Our second pick (Brett Ponich
) was kind of an underdog, but we just had him here for (Pro-Orientation Camp) and he was above and beyond our expectations. When you start like that, we're very happy with the way the draft went. We won't see anything immediate, but that's okay. We can let these guys develop properly."
Q: Judging by the talent on the roster and the prospects still on the way, how excited are you for this upcoming season? It could be a real good year.
A: "We're excited because we get Erik Johnson
back, that adds an element. We get Eric Brewer
back, that adds an element. We get Paul Kariya
back, and that adds an element. D.J. King
adds an element. So we're back at full strength going in."
Q: Rumors and internet message boards were buzzing in July that the Blues might be active in free agency. Can you explain to fans why it didn't make sense to give a big contract to a big free agent right now?
A: "We have a plan that we want to stick to. If we feel that there's an intelligent offseason signing, for the right dollars and right amount of years, then we'll take a hard look at it. But for us in our position, we might have those players in our organization already. So why waste time and money to do something that might not be beneficial for us? If we were in a different position where we needed people badly, then it'd be a different world. But we're not. We've got a good hockey club here and we're going to continue to build from within. When the time comes, when it's the right player for the right dollars for the right amount of years, we'll look at it."
Q: In a way, adding Kariya, Johnson and Brewer to your lineup is almost like gaining a few free agents, right?
A: "Yeah. Plus, the extension of Andy McDonald
during the winter time, he would have been a free agent. We went and got that taken care of before he had a chance to go into the marketplace. There's 4 or 5 different people that are like free agents coming to our team."
Q: You recently learned that you will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame later this year as a broadcaster. How exciting is that to hear?
A: "It's exciting. For me, it's exciting because of the people I worked with. All the broadcasters and the producers and directors and cameramen. Plus, my family, they're all pretty excited about it. I feel better for them than I do myself. It's something that's a real nice reward for a lot of years of travel, nights away from home and a lot of hotels. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. It was a great experience and I'm flattered by it."